One thing I love about my town is how it's okay to be unconventional. Certainly there are areas where perfect suburban lawns stretch identically to the curb, bordered by bark and carefully pruned shrubs (I remember driving up to one such location when we were house-hunting, and telling our real-estate agent to just drive away! I couldn't see myself living there). But there are lots of funky, fun parts of town where people feel free to get creative with their gardens. Many of them have lovely perennial beds, arbors spilling over with purple wisteria blossoms, and friendly patios and porches. But others have taken front-yard gardening to new heights with productive vegetable beds, even growing gorgeous cucumbers in the space betweeen sidewalk and curb.
Here's a front yard with rows of corn and blueberry plants. An amazing amount of produce can be grown in the space that a current front lawn takes up. I recently read an article about how the city I live in has enough farmland to completely support the produce needs of our own population. But really, we wouldn't need all that farmland for produce if people make use of the space they already have available to them. Of course, with grocery-store prices still artificially low for trucked-in food, due to still-low gas prices, people will not want to uproot their lawns for food production. But I'm betting by the time we see an explosion in food prices as gasoline doubles or triples in cost, "Grow Don't Mow" will become a new mantra for many.
This is one of my favorite local house-front gardens. They've planted tall bean trellises in such a way that it forms an outdoor room in front of their house. It's really gorgeous - they have a picnic table inside this wonderful bean-enclosed green room. What a clever idea!
And some people even go so far as to giving away their curb-side produce for free. Talk about community-building and sharing. Isn't this awesome! Combine this with the insane number of fruit trees that are abundantly producing this year (and all the fruit rotting on the ground around the city, which is sad to see) and so many more people could be eating healthy, home-grown produce.
Since we live in an area of the city where deer wander boldly into our front lawns, the grow-don't-mow approach doesn't work well for the front of our house, and I'm restricted to growing perennials that the deer don't touch, plus a few assorted herbs that they don't seem to care for (fennel, chives, parseley, mint) and save our food-growing for the fenced-in back yard. So I love to wander and look at what other people down in the deer-free parts of the city are doing.